This unique Giacometti chandelier was bought for $309. It's now expected to sell for millions

17 Feb.,2023


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Written by

Hafsa Khalil, CNN


chandelier bought for just £250 ($309) from a London antique store looks set to sell for millions at an auction at Christie's.

In 1960, British painter John Craxton was passing by the store when he recognized the unique Alberto Giacometti light fixture as a piece once owned by his late friend and benefactor Peter Watson, a collector and patron of the arts.

Swiss sculptor and painter Giacometti is best known for his elongated figure sculptures, such as "L'homme au doigt" and "L'homme qui marche I," some of the most expensive sculptures to sell at auction. Influenced by Surrealism, he created many unique pieces that spoke his "sculptural language," including this chandelier. He died in 1966, aged 64.

The bronze with golden-brown patina masterpiece is 53 inches tall and 60 inches wide, and has an estimated value of $1.9 million-$3.7 million. In 2018, a Giacometti chandelier sold for more than $9 million.

Alberto Giacometti is best known for sculptures of a human figure in plaster or bronze.


Paul Almasy/Corbis/Getty Images

According to a preview of the auction catalog sent to CNN by Christie's, Watson commissioned "Chandelier for Peter Watson" during a trip to Paris -- where Giacometti lived and worked -- circa 1946-1947. It was destined for the office of the famed London literary and arts magazine "Horizon," which Watson co-founded. The chandelier hung in the office until the magazine's closure in 1950, when it was packed away into storage.

A decade later, and after Watson's death, Craxton spotted the chandelier in the antique shop, bought it and hung it in the music room of his home in Hampstead, north London. Craxton died in 2009 and the chandelier is being sold by his estate.

Michelle McMullan, Christie's senior specialist and head of the 20th-century evening sales, called the chandelier a "sculpture in its own right."

Speaking to CNN on Monday, McMullan said it was a blend of Giacometti's works and styles, unlike anything else she has seen from the sculptor, which is one of the ways in which the piece is unique.

"I just think it's a great combination of Giacometti's sculptural language, combined with the refinement of his works in design," she said.

The auction starts in London on February 28 at 2.00 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET).

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